This Australian Children’s Author’s Bungalow Is Popping With Colors In Every Room

published Dec 20, 2022

This Australian Children’s Author’s Bungalow Is Popping With Colors In Every Room

published Dec 20, 2022
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Name: Jo Dabrowski, husband Andrew ‘Fish’ Fisher, two boys aged 11 and 13, and a fish
Location: Inner West — Melbourne, Australia
Size: 2400 square feet
Type of Home: House — California Bungalow-style
Years Lived In: 10 years, owned

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Jo Dabrowski is a children’s book author and illustrator, as well as a freelance copywriter. And when it comes to the home she lives in with her husband and their two sons, she’s infused the large “California Bungalow style” space with tons of color, art, and whimsy.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Colorful, maximalist, a bit sentimental, and fun. 

Inspiration: I take inspiration from all sorts of places, whether it’s cities we’ve traveled to or something I’ve seen in a film. I particularly love the Paddington films and anything by Wes Anderson. I also enjoy reading interiors magazines and I’m always most inspired by people who have decorated their home in a way that reflects their personality or interests. Most recently, I’ve been incredibly moved by the Apple TV series, ‘Home.’ It’s not only filled with unique and stylish houses, but the personal stories are inspiring too.

Favorite Element: My favorite spot in our house is definitely the front living room. It’s lovely and sunny. In winter we like getting the fire going and playing a board game in there. It’s filled with art we love, photos and objects that remind us of our travels, our books, and my beloved cased glassware collection. I started collecting more than 20 years ago in Melbourne, but most of the pieces were bought by Fish during our time living in the UK. He became very good at hunting them down and producing them as gifts every birthday and Mother’s Day or as a treat!

Biggest Challenge: Like many people, we were constrained by budget when we moved in. We immediately built an extension to include a primary bedroom and ensuite as well as a playroom for the boys (that I’ve recently turned into my office/studio). I had grand plans to re-do the boys’ bathroom and the kitchen too but, in reality, once we’d finished the extension, had storage built in, then re-painted inside and out, we were done. To compensate, I changed all the handles on the kitchen units to multicolored ones and hung up lots of plates. Ten years on, it’s fine, but I am still dreaming of a pink kitchen countertop. One day…

Proudest DIY: Other than fixing a few things and some painting, I haven’t done any huge DIYs, but our home is filled with lots of little things I’ve made along the way, like toys, cushions, bits of paper art, and a few pieces of furniture I’ve restored and painted. I guess the thing I’m most proud of is a framed collection of paper butterflies I’ve made for Fish. I started it when we got married with a butterfly I made from our wedding invitation. Since then, I’ve added butterflies made from photos of our favorite trips, copies of the boys’ birth certificates, any event that’s been special to Fish or both of us. There’s room for one more butterfly, so I have to make it a good one!

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? I’m not sure how unique this is, but every room is a different color. 

And, while we were having the extension built my boys and I made a time capsule and buried it under the house before the floor was put in. One day someone will dig up a fat metal tube filled with random toys, and a letter describing my sons’ favorite games to play and their love of “The Thunderbirds” and “The Octonauts.”

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Don’t worry about trends. If you love something and it makes you happy, then it will look great in your home.



  • Entrance hall — Dulux “Grey Pail”
  • Living room — Dulux “Western Myall”
  • 13-year-old boy’s room — Dulux “Green Spruce”
  • 11-year-old boy’s room — Dulux “Happy Days”
  • Primary bedroom — Dulux “Water Worn”
  • Fish’s study — Dulux “Softsun”
  • My office/studio — Taubmans “Indian Spice”
  • Kitchen/meals area — Taubmans “Admiralty”



  • Leather sofa — Thonet
  • Occasional chairs — Globe West
  • Coffee table — Designed by Fish and custom made in the UK (which is where he’s from)
  • Cushions — Castle
  • Colored vases — Various markets and secondhand stores from Melbourne to London, over the last 20 years
  • Graphic artwork — Steve ‘ESPO’ Powers.
  • Words on the mantlepiece spell out our wedding date. — Custom made by Tim Fleming. I tend to forget our anniversary!


  • Dining chairs — Thonet, spray-painted green
  • Giant hamburger stool — Third Drawer Down
  • Giant pencil — Third Drawer Down
  • Yellow sideboard — USM
  • Beanbags — Noomi
  • Kitchen table custom — Local carpenter
  • Navy blue linen sofa — Jardan
  • Cushions — Castle and IKEA
  • Coffee table — Flip table by David Trubridge
  • Flower-shaped end table — Billy Furniture
  • Egg cup stool — Mark Tuckey
  • Large painting — David Bromley


  • Pigeon lights — Thorsten van Elten
  • Bed linen — Castle
  • Yellow chair — Buy, Swap, Sell site and reupholstered


  • Single bed — Domayne
  • Lamp — IKEA
  • Desk — IKEA
  • Filing cabinet — IKEA 


  • Single bed — Domayne
  • Lamp — IKEA
  • Desk — IKEA
  • Desk chair — IKEA
  • Storage boxes under bed — Ay-Kasa


  • Black leather chaise lounge — Le Corbusier
  • Custom made record storage boxes — Like Butter

Thanks Jo and family!

This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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